We had a similar post/discussion before about software for Value Stream Mapping. Now, I'd like to ask/survey the blog audience about software for work measurement or time studies.
The category of software I'm talking about includes these:
Are any of you using tools like this for analyze work and motion, looking for value-added/NVA activity data?
I recently spent a few days piloting one of these tools, a Palm-based application that syncs up to a PC. I won't say which, because I'm not giving a review or an endorsement. Long story short was that the software worked fine and was customizable for the hospital environment I was in. The tools, in general, are probably more suited to a more predictable, routine activity environment, where tasks and sequence are known, more so than a hospital environment with unpredictable and highly variable work.
The software helps automate the process of collecting data for work observation (which can be done by a consultant, in the traditional “industrial engineer with a stopwatch” manner, or by the employees themselves).
Another mode these tools tend to work in is “work sampling mode.” The idea here is that an employee, such as a nurse, will carry the Palm device around and the device beeps/vibrates randomly at certain times. The nurse is supposed to use the device to indicate what category of work she is doing at the moment.
I don't know if I would want to use such a tool in a mode like that. It seems like the interruption to work could be annoying or worse, that it could be seen as a real imposition.
Does anyone have more experience with tools like these? Are they helpful?